Middle East, Africa

Russia sends fighters to up Haftar's forces in Libya

2 Russian planes land in Benghazi airport carrying fighters for renegade general, reports Arabic daily

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak   | 07.01.2020
Russia sends fighters to up Haftar's forces in Libya

ANKARA

Russia has sent mercenaries from Syria to Libya to fight for renegade general Khalifa Haftar, a London-based daily reported Tuesday.

Citing unnamed sources, the Arabic al-Jadeed reported, the move came with the support of United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Two Russian military planes landed at the Benghazi airport in the past three days with fighters from Russian security companies Moran and Schit, it added.

Also, some Syrian nationals working for the Russian forces were sent to Libya, the report went on to say.

Turkey supports the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya while Russia supports Haftar's forces.

Turkey is against mercenaries coming to Libya and think mercenaries cannot bring peace and stability, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday.

Turkish parliament last week passed a motion allowing the deployment of troops in Libya for one year in order to respond to threats from illegitimate armed groups and other terror groups targeting both countries' national interests.

The motion also aims to provide security in Libya in the face of any possible mass migration and to provide Libyans with humanitarian aid. Turkish forces will be able to launch an "operation and [military] intervention" to protect Turkey's interests and prevent future irreparable situations, said the motion.

In April, Haftar's forces launched a military campaign to capture Tripoli from the internationally recognized government, but have so far failed to progress beyond the city’s outskirts.

However, on Dec. 12, Haftar announced that he had ordered his militants to launch a “decisive battle” to capture the capital.

According to UN data, more than 1,000 people have been killed since the start of the operation and more than 5,000 injured.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

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